Founded in 1987, TechSmith has been a pioneer in screen capture and recording technology for Windows computers since they released Snagit, 20 years ago. How could a company thrive for over 20 years, selling software that does something that the Windows OS has always been able to do for free?
- Very easy to use and intuitive
- Numerous capture methods
- Nice image editor
- Many file types supported, including PDF
- Lots of markup options
- Good selection of image effects
- Captures the rounded corners of a window
- Manages screen captures in a library
- Basic screencasting with audio
- Terrific value
- Resizing images reduces some image quality
- Save As option seems to get confused changing file types
- Not enough professional-looking stamps
- No “save for web” feature
- No built-in option to start Snagit minimized
I used to use Snagit several years ago to create instructional documents for IT staff. The print screen option in Windows (via the Print Scrn key) created a lot of extra work because I had to crop just the sections I wanted and the resolution wasn’t optimal. Snagit was a godsend for its ability to capture just the windows I needed and the resolution was more ideal. Windows print screen hasn’t evolved at all, but with the release of Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft added a new tool called the Snipping Tool. The Snipping Tool is better than just print screen, because it allows you to capture windows, rectangular areas, and in free-form. It even allows very basic markups. For the casual user, the Snipping Tool is all you will need. However, the reason why Snagit has been so successful for all these years, is because it’s always been able to do moren––much more. The Snipping Tool is basically what Snagit was, maybe 10 years ago.
Snagit 10 can capture a region, windows, fixed region, or active window. It can include or exclude the cursor, capture an entire web page (rather than just what’s visible on the screen), capture text and video. Video screen captures are very basic, so any heavy screencasting projects should be done with a dedicated screencasting tool like TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio.
Though you can choose specific capture methods, I only use the all-in-one tool because it’s drop-dead simple to use. Captures can be outputted to a variety of file formats including PNG, JPG, GIF, and PDF. Capture files are clean, clear and look great. One feature I like is how captures of windows include the curves on the corners. You may not have noticed, but Microsoft Windows windows aren’t perfect rectangles; they are curved in the corners. If you use the Snipping Tool, captures are a straight rectangle, which means a portion of the background is captured with it.
When I first began using Snagit 10, I really didn’t expect to use the editor. I figured it was just a throw in and it wouldn’t be a compelling part of the package. After all, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements, GIMP, Corel Paint Shop Pro, and Paint.NET for graphics, so what would I need a built-in editor for, right? Simply put, I use it for the incredible selection of markup options. My presentations look professional and clean. There are many options to choose from and their selection of effects are also very cool. In addition to the amazing selection of markup tools, I’m also in love with the blur tool and spotlight & magnify tool. The blur tool allows me to easily blur certain parts of a capture I don’t want to share, like serial numbers, names, phone numbers, etc. The spotlight & magnify tool, allows me to put the focus on a specific part of the capture.
The editor isn’t perfect, however. I would suggest to TechSmith that they improve the quality of their stamps. Stamps are graphics that look like a hand-drawn circle or maybe a mouse cursor clicking on a button. I really would like to use these stamps but to be perfectly honest, they look amateur––like clip art from the 80s. Also, resizing captures seem to reduce the image quality when compared to the same action in Photoshop Elements. One last feature I would love to see in the Editor, is a “save for web” feature, like in Photoshop Elements. Sometimes my captures end up being rather large in size, so being able to reduce the size without reducing too much of the overall quality would be a huge benefit for me. As it is, I end up working on my captures in both Snagit Editor and Photoshop Elements. I do any resizing, or cropping work in Photoshop and then use the Snagit Editor for the effects and markups.
The capture library in Snagit Editor is a nice feature. It allows you to keep track of all your captures in a neat, organized fashion. You can tag your captures and then find them later using those tags. The library also organizes images by date and by folders. The lower part of the Editor screen also displays thumbnails of your most recent captures so you can quickly access images you’ve been working on. The default size of the thumbnails is medium, which I find hard to use since many of my screenshots look pretty similar. Luckily, you can increase the thumbnail size to large. You can also hover over the thumbnails to get a preview of the image but it takes a couple of seconds to display so I prefer just using the large thumbnails to start.
I prefer to have the Snagit program minimized and out of the way when I begin working. Unfortunately, there is no option to start it up minimized. You have to minimize it yourself when it starts up or manually edit the shortcut to have Windows minimize it on start up. It’s not hard to edit the shortcut, but I can’t imagine it would take much to add the option to Snagit either.
Snagit was a godsend 10 years ago and it’s a godsend today. Snagit 10 is the most powerful screenshot program that I know of and is a steal for $50. The efficiency I gain from using it is well worth the price. If you’re a teacher, trainer, writer, or someone who needs to take screen captures to do their jobs, it’s a no brainer; you need Snagit.
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* Review license provided by TechSmith